Someone just reminded me of this piece on the Grand Coulee Dam area, produced by KXLY TV for their Explorer TV series, in which I was interviewed.
They did a great job of cutting in quick and useful information, and it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
One thing I forgot to mention (one of those “I wish I had said” moments) is that the drive through here on SR 155 is actually the heart of a National Scenic Byway called The Coulee Corridor.
This KXLY video is only offered in Adobe Flash, so it may not play if you’re using a mobile device.
The Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The bottle-cap-shaped building below the dam offers new exhibits designed to entertain and educate with interactive features, such as the jackhammer above. A video game lets you fly right through the dam to explore its features. Hands-on generators let you light up a miniature grid, and you can see the workings of the hydropower units.
One activity needs three to five people (perfect for a family) who sit at a table and listen to the concerns (via prerecorded video) of the many and varied people with interests affected by how the Columbia River is operated. As each player votes on various decisions, the overall plan changes and you’ll find out what your preferences did to the other parties’ interests.
It’s a great Visitor Center with knowledgeable interpreters, plus frequent movies in an upstairs theater to explain history and functions of this multipurpose dam.
I’ve often said that the most enduring legacy from the boomtown days for this community remains a sense of ingenuity. Certainly that’s what marked the contributions of thousands of people who helped design and build the biggest hydroelectric dam in North America.
Emil Gehrke’s windmills, made of what most of us might have called junk, now stand as folk art at North Dam Park, a testament to inventiveness and creativity, and perhaps moving (literally) symbols of the modern ethic of “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.”
A series of free concerts is scheduled for North Dam Park and events center this month, starting on Friday, Aug. 17.
And the Wednesday night before that, bull riding fans can get their fix of “beer, burgers and bulls” in a special event at the Ridge Riders Rodeo Grounds.
The rodeo grounds open at 6 p.m., Aug. 15, for what could become a frequent event next year. Bull riding begins at 7 p.m.
Then on Friday night, a local rock group called Mister Meaner will take to the “stage” at the bottom of the grass amphitheater.
The very next evening a cool trio from Spokane, The 45s, will rock your Saturday night with a rockabilly sound. Think “The Stray Cats” and you’ll come to close to hearing this fun band.
The next weekend starts with a Friday night concert by Thirsty Perfect, a Coeur D’Alene, Idaho Christian rock band, sponsored by Faith Commu
nity Church. The next night Mister Meaner hopes the word will have spread, and you’ll bring your friends back for a good time.
Labor Day weekend kicks of Aug. 31 with a big-name band in the Pacific Northwest — Jr. Cadillac. Folks who gathered for their concert in the park last year had a great time, and said they wanted more.
Saturday night, Sept. 1, will see another encore from a band that proved popular last year. “33” bills itself as the loudest band in Spokane. By the way, we should do something to welcome back Joe Oliver that night, a band member originally from the coulee.
The series is sponsored by the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, which is advertising it across the state and paying for it with the help of tourism tax dollars from Electric City, Grand Coulee and Coulee Dam.